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Thread: Looking for advice on my first mandolin - Thoughts on Prucha?

  1. #1

    Default Looking for advice on my first mandolin - Thoughts on Prucha?

    Hi All -

    I'm on the hunt for my first mandolin! I picked up the banjo two years ago and have recently gotten the hankering to branch out. I'm working with a budget of ~$1500 - $2k, and having lurked on the boards a bit trying to do my own research, I have a feeling you may suggest used. The catch is I live in Munich, Germany and so there's no much market, nor are there stores I can go to try things out.

    However, with the Czech Republic right next door, and being a banjo player, I became aware of Prucha, and I was looking at the A5T. I seem to be able to find some old posts on the brand, but nothing is popping up for me in terms of recent opinions. I'd probably just go ahead and pull the trigger but when my wife called to talk to him about getting one for Christmas, he said it'd be at least May before he could get one to us, so that's got me wondering if I could get my hands on something a bit sooner.

    Anyways, I'd greatly appreciate any advice on what you think my best options might be given my location and budget. Should I go ahead and get the order in on a Prucha? Or are there other directions I might consider?

    Cheers!

  2. #2
    Registered User Eric Hanson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on my first mandolin - Thoughts on Prucha?

    Welcome to the wonderful world of Mandolin!
    Not specifically sure about Prucha, but the joys of having a mandlinn custom made for you are pretty great. The only drawback is not being able to know exactly what you want in an instrument.
    I am in the process of debating a new mandolin. Why? The one I have sounds just beautiful, but I have over time decided that I would like one with a smaller neck. Wasted money on the first built? Nope. It is a learning process. I was assured that the first one I have will be able to be sold for a fair price. I will just invest that into a newly built one.
    MAS (Mandolin Acquisition Syndrome) is real. I am just a another happy victim.
    If you do have Prucha build one for you make sure to visit as many stores as you can to make some decsions as to what features you would lke in a mandolin. Arched Fingerboard? Neck shape? Appointments? Fret size? The width of the nut? All questions to be answered. Prucha, I am sure would be of great help in aiding you in discussion of these options.
    Whatever the case, success to you in our journey! Playing the mandolin is a highly rewarding experience. May it be a joyful and pleasurable one for you!
    Eric Hanson
    Click #016/ Born on 2/29/08 - Sold to the next Conservator of this great mandolin!
    The search has ceased! (At least for now)
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on my first mandolin - Thoughts on Prucha?

    Quote Originally Posted by El Duderino View Post
    Hi All -

    I'm on the hunt for my first mandolin! I picked up the banjo two years ago and have recently gotten the hankering to branch out. I'm working with a budget of ~$1500 - $2k, and having lurked on the boards a bit trying to do my own research, I have a feeling you may suggest used. The catch is I live in Munich, Germany and so there's no much market, nor are there stores I can go to try things out.

    However, with the Czech Republic right next door, and being a banjo player, I became aware of Prucha, and I was looking at the A5T. I seem to be able to find some old posts on the brand, but nothing is popping up for me in terms of recent opinions. I'd probably just go ahead and pull the trigger but when my wife called to talk to him about getting one for Christmas, he said it'd be at least May before he could get one to us, so that's got me wondering if I could get my hands on something a bit sooner.

    Anyways, I'd greatly appreciate any advice on what you think my best options might be given my location and budget. Should I go ahead and get the order in on a Prucha? Or are there other directions I might consider?

    Cheers!
    Saw and played on a Prucha at the Mandolin Store a couple of years ago. Very impressed and since you live close by the Czech Republic go play one and see what you think !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

  4. #4
    Spencer Sorenson Spencer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on my first mandolin - Thoughts on Prucha?

    I have played some Purchas, and found them to be quality mandolins. I played one of their top of the line F-5's that held it own in a jam with 3 banjos. You could do much worse. There are several Czech makers, probably the most known of the others is the Krishot brand.

    In Germany, there is the New Acoustic Gallery in Wuppertal, but that's a fair distance from Munich. Oliver Waitze who runs it, has sold Prucha instruments for a long time, you might contact him for more information, as he deals in mandolins ranging from Kentucky to Ellis.

    Spencer

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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on my first mandolin - Thoughts on Prucha?

    Many of the Czech. built mandolins can be excellent. Prucha / Kristufek / Lebeda / Furch / Capek are all worthy of looking at if you can find them. I own a Lebeda 'Special' built in 2001,which is the only one of my 3 mandolins that i will never sell,not because it's ''better'',but it is superb & i'd most likely never find another one. Jiri Lebeda still builds mandolins,but only to order,so your chances of finding one are down to the ''used'' instrument market. You'll probably find the others more easily available,especially from Prucha / Kristufek & Capek. The build quality is usually first class - tonally,that'll be your personal opinion !,
    Ivan
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    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Looking for advice on my first mandolin - Thoughts on Prucha?

    Just want to say I am excited for you! Excited that you picked up the banjo (your first instrument ever, perhaps?) and that you're now either starting or still looking for a mandolin. Your newbie experience brings back my first experiences with mandolin. SO THRILLING!!!! I know you are having yourself a blast! In a big way, for me, every time I start to learn a new fiddle tune on mandolin, I have the whole experience all over again!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Looking for advice on my first mandolin - Thoughts on Prucha?

    I've been playing for four years so I'm still relatively new to Mandolin, but here's my personal suggestions:

    I wouldn't buy a top end Mandolin straight away because at this point you don't really know what sound you will be happy with a couple of years down the line. I would get something like an Eastman, which are great Mandolins, easy to play and sound really good. If you trade up later, you won't lose much money on it.

    I would also suggest a round (or oval) hole model, which to me, sound better to the player. F hole ones sound better to the audience as the sound projects in a different way. Round hole Mandolins seem to have more sustain which I guess is the way they are braced inside the body.

    The "Fellowship of Acoustics" in Holland sell an Eastman MD304 for 595 Euros though you may get one locally.

    If you are able to get to a Dealers, get someone else to play the Instruments so you can listen. They all sound different when you are sat in front of them.

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    Registered User Atlanta Mando Mike's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on my first mandolin - Thoughts on Prucha?

    I've played a few Pruchas and in general, have been very impressed with them. They are very high quality mandolins in my opinion.

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    Registered User Hallmark498's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on my first mandolin - Thoughts on Prucha?

    I played one years ago and really liked it. A guy at work was selling it and I really wanted it but just didn't have the $ at the time, other wise it would have been mine. Funny that I still think about that mandolin the other day, at that time I only had my 03 Gibson Fern, but even now with the addition of Collings MF5 and Steffey F5 it was on my mind.

    Buy the best mandolin you can afford, even stretch a little if you can. I have found that learning the mandolin is a process that you never arrive, it's a life long journey so get something that makes the experience worthwhile and enjoyable.

  11. #10

    Default Re: Looking for advice on my first mandolin - Thoughts on Prucha?

    Thanks all - appreciate the input. I used to play woodwinds, but banjo was the first string instrument I picked up. Excited to dive into the world of mandolin. Sounds like the general feedback is that I'm unlikely to be disappointed with a Prucha. That said, I found this one available immediately as opposed to waiting for a build... Any thoughts on whether the resale value seems in line with what you'd expect?

    https://www.tfoa.eu/nl/lebeda-lebeda...line-2005.html

  12. #11
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on my first mandolin - Thoughts on Prucha?

    From above - "Any thoughts on whether the resale value seems in line with what you'd expect ?" That's hard to say. Because Jiri Lebeda is only ''building to order'',his mandolins are in short supply. If there's a good one on offer,there could be a 'scarcity value' placed on it as part of the price. Most folk (like myself), if they find a first class Lebeda,they don't sell them. Only you can say whether the mandolin in question is ''worth it's price to you''. In my opinion,it sounds lovely in the YouTube clip - very responsive !!
    Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

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    Default Re: Looking for advice on my first mandolin - Thoughts on Prucha?

    The Lebeda sounds really good.
    Resale value is a tough one since you are in Germany.
    Mandolins seem to cost a lot more over in Europe than in the US.
    2000 Euros equals $2400 USD which seems high to me if it was being sold in the US.
    I did notice however that the price included 20% tax of some sort. Is that a tax that would have to be paid on any mandolin over there?
    If you take the 20% off then you end up with about $1900 US which is not too bad. I would like to get it for a bit less,,,, say $1700 which I think would be reasonable in the US.
    If I were you I would take a look at the prices of mandolins in European stores or websites just to get an idea of what percentage higher equivalent mandolins cost compared to in the US. Trevor at Acoustic Music in Britain has prices on his website.
    Another thing that I noticed was that the Lebeda does not come with a hard case but does have a one year warranty.

    You would have to try to bargain a hard case into any deal that you might be able to make.
    My guess is that you will be kind of shocked at how much mandolins cost in Europe compared to the US.
    Good luck.
    I just noticed a Lebeda F style in the classifieds for $2200 USD. it looks to be a sort of "plain Jane" model.
    Last edited by atetone; Dec-30-2017 at 8:27am.

  14. #13

    Default Re: Looking for advice on my first mandolin - Thoughts on Prucha?

    Yeah, Europe has a VAT (value added tax) of 21%. It's why Europeans love shopping in the US. Especially when you go to states like Oregon where there's not even a sales tax, things get so much cheaper! So, when you look at the fact that it's less common here and VAT, it definitely makes it hard to swallow. Someone suggested an Eastman, but then I'd probably rather wait till I was back in the US rather than pay an extra 50% for a "starter" instrument. I figure something used like this would at least hold value, not that is plan to sell it on, but at least there's that comfort in the back of your mind. Anyways, I'll probably reach out to these guys to try to get some background on the instrument and if there's any wiggle room...

    Appreciate the feedback. Keep it coming if there's any more!

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    Default Re: Looking for advice on my first mandolin - Thoughts on Prucha?

    Always buy the best you can afford. You deserve it.
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on my first mandolin - Thoughts on Prucha?

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    Always buy the best you can afford. You deserve it.
    The problem is, "best" is so subjective!

  17. #16
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on my first mandolin - Thoughts on Prucha?

    Seems, if like my Lebeda, you can stop looking after buying that one.. top quality.
    writing about music
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  18. #17

    Default Re: Looking for advice on my first mandolin - Thoughts on Prucha?

    Thanks everyone. The Lebeda is on the way! Can't wait to get my hands on it. I'll be sure to hit you all back up as I start looking for learning materials, picks, strings, and all the other fun stuff that I'll need to go with it!

    Cheers

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    Default Re: Looking for advice on my first mandolin - Thoughts on Prucha?

    Over the years I've had 5 instruments made for me, apart from the hundreds I've owned. Three mandolins and two guitars. 4 of them were big disappointments. The Paul Schneider Summit Custom F5 was the exception. Absolutely brilliant. You could pick up a Summit A model relatively cheaply and be assured it would be great mandolin.

    I would not recommend having one made because you never know EXACTLY what it will sound like or look like. Even with specifications etc a luthier has different thoughts than you and you could lose a lot of money selling it.

    Depending on budget, I'd recommend a used Eastman and you won't lose much if you change and hey have a big range. Same with The Loar but a Summit would not disappoint and of course you could see it and play it first.

    Jimmy Powells
    UK

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    Default Re: Looking for advice on my first mandolin - Thoughts on Prucha?

    I think that you made a good move with getting the Lebeda.
    As a first mandolin you are starting off way ahead of the game.
    You have eliminated the anguish and expense of working your way up to a good quality mandolin.
    Of course,,,, you have no excuses now!

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    Default Re: Looking for advice on my first mandolin - Thoughts on Prucha?

    Every Lebeda I have encountered has been a really nice mandolin. Good choice.
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
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